Botanical Portraits

Botanical Portraits

PORTRAITS IN OIL: VISUAL AND OLFACTIVE

 

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"I hate flowers. I paint them because they are cheaper than models and they don't move".

- Georgia O'Keefe

Not true. I love flowers and have an obsession with their beauty, their scents and the supercharged hedonism of blooms. There is a strength to flowers that most overlook. I am also a perfumer where flowers play an important role in the balance of any scent. This site represents a single facet of my obsession with flowers, the visual power of the flower.

 

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"There is nothing you can see that is not a flower; there is nothing that you can think that is not the moon".

- Matsuo Basho

This collection of images spans a number of years. Over this time the exploration of a single flower grew to groups of flowers, and then the groups were arranged to form surrealistic faces = Botanical Portraits. The current paintings are all faces and some are easier to see than others.

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I love flowers; I just don't want to smell like one.

- Me 

My fascination with flowers extends to the olfactory arts as a perfumer for my brand COGNOSCENTI.  I started the brand to provide an alternative to the overly sweet florals that were offered for women. The scents are uni-sex, layering light florals with musks, resinous roots, verdant vegetable and animal essences, and synthetic molecules to serve as the counterpoint. They provide the sharp edge that plays off of the tender flowers and plants. For a perfumer, flowers are essential and however much I love flowers, I don't want to smell like one. I want to be one. 

As my work progresses more of the olfactive art is overlapping with the paintings. The most recent paintings, the Dark Lovelies, are catalysts for new fragrances and are a new type of oil portrait. For more info on the fragrances go to link below.

 

 

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Portraits in Oil

Visual and Olfactive

Recent Open Studio event with custom fragrances created for each of the Dark Lovelies artworks. Warrior Queen (upper left) is a modern orris based scent with burnt rubber and coriander. Florentine Combover (lower right and above) is an amped up cologne with herbs, leather and soft tobacco. Miss Ming (partial at upper right and top) is cool and a bit icy with blue cypress top note and an oriental oud base for heightened sensuality.

How do most perfumers design a fragrance? They start with an idea: a story, a place and sometimes a person, and then they choose ingredients that align with their chosen muse. At COGNOSCENTI I typically start with one or two ingredients that I want to explore, to play off of each other, enhancing, coaxing or pushing and pulling. No.16-Tomato Leather, No.30-Hay Incense, and No.19-Warm Carrot are examples of this type of ingredient exploration. For the Dark Lovelies I am letting the paintings pick the ingredients.

It is not a literal translation of all of the botanicals that are depicted; that would be too easy. Instead I am using the paintings to suggest words, colors, personalities and moods, which I then translate into ingredients. The painting process has a life of its own and choices are often dictated by the art along an intuitive path. The resulting fragrances are surprising, unique and intoxicating. The perfumes and the paintings are exhibited together to promote a multi sensory experience, a truly immersive art.

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Find our fragrances: www.cogno-scenti.com